I have a confession to make: I like Julia Roberts.
Boy, it feels good to get that off my chest, even if admitting it makes me the kind of girl that the Guardian's Jeremy Kay sees as lining up for Duplicity to remember being as "touched [as] after watching Pretty Woman for the very first time." I've always found her appealing and rather funny -- enough to even rewatch The Mexican when it was on cable a few weeks ago. (Mary Reilly, however, will forever be a no go.)
But liking Roberts seems to be a shameful thing unless you're David Letterman. Every pre-Duplicity review and article I read was prefaced with a gleeful "I've never liked Julia Roberts!" Many seemed to be rooting for her "return" to fail so they wouldn't be faced with having to type her name again. Roberts doesn't even attract pure girl hate, as many actresses do -- it's split right down the gender lines, with men proud of the fact that they find her unattractive.
I'm really perplexed by it. I just don't get what she's done that inspired such delighted dislike. Maybe it's the whole "America's sweetheart" label that was stuck on her in the 90s -- coupled with the fact that she actually starred in a film called America's Sweethearts. Perhaps she's not the greatest actress, but there's dozens who fit that bill. Sure, she's done a lot of romantic comedies, but as chick flicks go, they're pretty watchable. They're nowhere near as offensive as the ones Jennifer Aniston has in the pipeline. She's had a messy personal life, but again, that's hardly unique, nor are the sneering rumors that she's not very nice off screen. Steven Soderbergh stamp-of-approval be damned, because Steven Spielberg won't work with her again.
So, I'll borrow a page from Peter Martin and Nicolas Cage, and demand an explanation from the Cinematical readers. Love Roberts? Hate her? Explain yourselves in 100 words or less. Bonus points if you reference Notting Hill in some way.